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The “New World of Work” | HR Predictions for 2018 from Josh Bersin | Part 1

Last week I had the pleasure of attending the Philadelphia Society of People and Strategy (PSPS) quarterly program at the Union League in Philadelphia. Me and 350 of my closest friends packed into a room at 7:30 am for the honor of hearing Josh Bersin, Co-Founder of Bersin by Deloitte, speak about predictions for the “New World of Work." Josh’s talk dove into some fascinating trends that we can expect to see shape organizations in 2018. These research-based trends have already begun to change the way we work and manage people in our organizations.

If you follow the Human Capital Trends Report by Deloitte each year, many of the predictions Josh spoke about will not surprise you - changing performance management processes, diversity and inclusion practices, HR analytics - these are trends we have been talking about for years. However, there were a few that while maybe not new, the perspective that Josh spoke about on these trends will take organizations in new directions this year. He hit on a lot during his talk, too much to cover in one blog post, but the predictions that resonated with me most included:

1. The Employee Experience

2. The Rise of the Individual

3. Agile Careers

4. Citizenship on the Rise

Over the next month, I will share in this four-part blog series a little about each one of these four trends and what they mean for HR and organizations. In this Part I, let’s dive into The Employee Experience.


The Employee Experience. This trend certainly isn’t new; Josh and his team wrote about this in February of 2017. However, many organizations over the last year have focused on one part of the employee experience, engagement, and ignored the need to focus on the whole picture of the employee experience. We all talk about engagement; engagement surveys, Gallup polls to quantify what percent of our workforce is “involved in, enthusiastic about and committed to their work.” But, engagement is a small piece of the employee experience pie. As Bersin wrote, “Rather than focusing narrowly on engagement and culture, organizations are developing an integrated focus on the entire employee experience, bringing together all the workplace, HR, and management practices that impact people on the job.” The employee experience is about everything the employee experiences at work, not just engagement. It includes benefits, work/life balance, workload, management practices, transparency, fairness, and purpose. When is the last time your organization thought about how your management practices and transparency impact employee engagement and the employee experience? Well, they do y’all! (FYI, I’m from Texas and the y’all comes out sometimes when I’m passionate about a topic. Y’all get that right?!)


“Rather than focusing narrowly on engagement and culture, organizations are developing an integrated focus on the entire employee experience, bringing together all the workplace, HR, and management practices that impact people on the job.”

--Josh Bersin


Josh talked about the need for organizations to start paying more attention to Glassdoor reviews, as these are indicators of employee experience. Restaurants and customer service businesses learned years ago that if they ignore yelp reviews, their business will suffer. It’s time for organizations to realize that Glassdoor reviews can have the same impact on your current and future workforce. (Did you see this NYTimes article last week on how Glassdoor is changing organizational culture?) One bad review could be a one-off, but 200 might be a signal that something is wrong. If employers don’t take note of the reviews they receive and respond to emerging issues, they could see their applicant pool shrink or worse, face legal challenges for issues they maybe should have been aware of and preventing.

The final piece of employee experience that Josh hit on was well-being linked to performance. The wellness trend is not new; from gym memberships to mindfulness classes to financial planning programs, organizations already see the need for wellness initiatives. But Josh believes that this trend will take two steps forward this year, from wellness to well-being to performance. Workers today are experiencing “cognitive overload” from multiple communication channels and changing technologies. This creates stress and ultimately reduces employee performance. This affects the employee experience, as they begin to link their negative performance with their stress. Organizations must find ways to not only increase wellness initiatives but link the outcomes of these initiatives to well-being in their employees which in turn links to increased performance. (If you are interested in more topics on well-being, check out the blog WorkrBeeing, co-created by VUHRD Professor, Katina Sawyer, PhD.)

Stay tuned for parts 2-4 of this blog series where I will dive into more of these trending areas in the “New World of Work” from Josh Bersin.


Bethany J. Adams, MA, SHRM-SCP is an Assistant Director in the Graduate HRD program at Villanova University. Learn more about her here!

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